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ILF Conference Report

By: CAPA JRC reporter Justin Jiang


On July 27th, the International Leadership Foundation(ILF) held its 2023 leadership and business conference in Capital Hilton, D.C. Around 400 hundred business and community leaders from around the United States attended this conference. The ILF is a non-profit organization that promotes public service and civic awareness in the AAPI community. With over twenty years of development, the ILF’s contribution has been widely recognized. The 18th secretary of Transportation and 24th secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, the former Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan, Congresswoman of New York Grace Meng, and Congresswoman Judy Chu were invited as keynote speakers at the dinner gala. The conference awarded people who have made substantial contributions to communities in their respective fields.

This year's awardees are as follows:

  • Business Leadership Award

    • Jeanny Lu

    • Linglong He

  • Public Service Award

    • Cindy Ryu

    • Luke Bellocchi

    • Joe Jefferson

    • Lanhee Chen

  • Community Service Award

    • Alan Way

    • Gerry Liu

    • Laura Liu

  • Art and Culture Leadership Award

    • Aka Chen

  • Contribution in Manufacturing Industry Award

    • Dewang Cao*


The ILF was founded in 2000 by Joe Szabat and his wife Qiling Tong. When asked about her motivation to create the ILF, Qiling Tong said that over 20 years ago, she was in an organization called the Coral Foundation. She explained that the Coral Foundation mainly consisted of white participants and she wanted to create an organization that would be more inclusive toward Asian Americans.

So far, the ILF has grown significantly. They have global advisory councils in 20 cities and well over 100 sponsors, and have provided leadership training for thousands of AAPI students. Qiling Tong said that she wants to help prepare the next generation to be future world leaders. One of the ILF’s major programs is the Civic Fellowship Program. This program offers high school students and undergraduates opportunities for public service internships in a federal agency or congressional office. The students are provided with individual mentorship and a variety of seminars and workshops. These events expose young leaders to different experiences and prepare them to support their community in new ways.

One intern at the ILF said he feels that “Every choice, every decision, every responsibility [he takes] has actual impact and weight. [He] can really see the effects of what [he's] doing. So that really feels good to [him].” His words show the ILF’s impact: influencing young leaders to do things not for pay, but for change.


This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 25 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.

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Blog: https://capajrc.org

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